Immigrants Resemble Native-Born Americans over Time

As immigrants and their descendants become integrated into U.S. society, many aspects of their lives  improve, including measurable outcomes such as educational attainment, occupational distribution, income, and language ability, but their well-being declines in the areas of health, crime, and family patterns, says a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.   At the same time, several factors impede immigrants’ integration into society, such as their legal status, racial disparities in socio-economic outcomes, and low naturalization rates.

Karthick Ramakrishnan, associate dean of the University of California, Riverside School of Public Policy and professor of political science and public policy, is a member of the National Academies Committee on Integration of Immigrants Into American Society, which conducted the study and wrote the report that was released Sept. 21 in Washington, D.C. He directs the Immigration Research Group at UCR and is the lead campus representative on the UC-wide California Immigration Research Initiative.

Ramakrishnan and Sono Shah, a Ph.D. student in political science at UC Riverside, also helped produced another report released this week, this one from the Office of Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs of the Iowa Department of Human Rights on the contributions and needs of Iowa’s rapidly growing population of Asians and Pacific Islanders.

“It was an honor to be included in this distinguished group of social scientists from across the country,” Ramakrishnan said of the National Academies study. “The integration of immigrants in American society is a vitally important topic, and this is the most ambitious effort so far to shed light on how immigrants are faring, on a vast array of social, economic, health, and civic indicators.”

Find more details about the report here.

Scientists Sequence Genomes of Microscopic Worms

Many nematodes (worms) have specialized as pathogens, including those that serve as deadly insect-attacking parasites, making them effective biocontrol agents.

Now a research team led by a scientist at the University of California, Riverside has sequenced the genomes of five nematodes, specifically, microscopic round worms likely to be involved in parasitism and widely used in agriculture as an organic pesticide.

“In sequencing these particular nematodes we hoped to learn something about parasite biology and the evolution of nematodes in general,” said Adler R. Dillman, the lead researcher and an assistant professor of parasitology in the Department of Nematology. “Although these nematodes are widely used in biological control against agricultural insect pests, their efficacy in the field is limited. Now with the genomic sequence we will be able to use this genetic information in efforts to improve the efficacy of these parasites to prevent insect damage of important crops.”

Study results appear online in Genome Biology.

The five nematodes – Steinernema carpocapsae, S. feltiae, S. glaseri, S. monticolum and S. scapterisci – are used both commercially and in home gardens, and are marketed as beneficial nematodes. Steinernema are considered insect pathogenic because they can rapidly kill an insect host.

Dillman said his research team also learned more about gene regulation and the evolution of genomes in general as it compared the five sequences with other nematodes. Read more about the study here.

Making Batteries with Portabella Mushrooms

Can portabella mushrooms stop cell phone batteries from degrading over time?

Researchers at the University of California, Riverside Bourns College of Engineering think so.

They have created a new type of lithium-ion battery anode using portabella mushrooms, which are inexpensive, environmentally friendly and easy to produce. The current industry standard for rechargeable lithium-ion battery anodes is synthetic graphite, which comes with a high cost of manufacturing because it requires tedious purification and preparation processes that are also harmful to the environment.

With the anticipated increase in batteries needed for electric vehicles and electronics, a cheaper and sustainable source to replace graphite is needed. Using biomass, a biological material from living or recently living organisms, as a replacement for graphite, has drawn recent attention because of its high carbon content, low cost and environmental friendliness.

UC Riverside engineers were drawn to using mushrooms as a form of biomass because past research has established they are highly porous, meaning they have a lot of small spaces for liquid or air to pass through. That porosity is important for batteries because it creates more space for the storage and transfer of energy, a critical component to improving battery performance.

Read more about their findings here





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